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Audience mic placement

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Michael Cooper
Audience mic placement
on Mar 13, 2012 at 8:49:19 pm

Hey Guys,

I am doing a live recording of a dinner-theater event at a small concert venue and I'm trying to figure out the best placement for my audience mics. I have two shotguns (416s). My initial thought is to set them stage L and stage R on stands on the inner sides of the house speakers (is this the 'null'?). Here's a link to a pic of the space.

Let me know what you guys think. Would the mics be better on the outer sides of the speakers (next to the wall)? Higher/lower? Or would you suggest a different placement entirely (above the stage/audience, FOH position, etc)? I don't really have access/budget for different mics. Please let me know your thoughts. The gig is tomorrow!


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Eric Toline
Re: Audience mic placement
on Mar 13, 2012 at 9:57:29 pm

The small flower balconys on either side of the stage would be my choice if it's practical for you. If you put the mics on stage you're going to have the foldback monitors blowing into them, not what you want for audience reaction mics.


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Audience mic placement
on Mar 14, 2012 at 9:17:39 am

I do about 4-6 theatre OB's for TV broadcasting each year, the best combination I have found over many years is 3 stereo pairs.

On the first balcony in centre [normal camera position] I will run an A-B set up using omni lapel mics at about 2m apart feeding back through the camera lines.
This gives a VERY wide open sound.

I then use a XY mic on prompt side either AKG 552 or Rode NTG4 on a tall mic stand in the aisle about 4 rows from the front facing the crowd.
This gives a nice med spaced sound.

And another XY set up on the other side of the theatre using Sennheiser 416 mics.
This gives a very tight sound that you can hear groups people murmuring and clapping.

So with the 3 stereo sets of mics you can zoom in and out of the crowd to match the camera shots simply by cross fading between the stereo pairs. Wide to Tight ..... or Tight to Wide

Way more exciting than a single stereo pair.......

PS. (My personal view ONLY) I hate MS mics with a passion for broadcast and avoid using them unless its the last mic/s in the kit. And if you do use MS aim the mic up at about 45deg to give a more difused sound... this technique works very well on large sporting crowds.
Generally I prefer XY or spaced omni mics.

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